I have been impressed with the birds I have so far. They are very calm, fairly easy to handle, and nice chickens to have around. My son's Hamburgs, by contrast, are crazy as Junebugs. They are fiercely independent and keep themselves apart from the rest of the flock and fly more than any of the other chickens I've had. They're interesting, but on the whole I like my Buckeyes better.
They have pea combs so they're very cold hardy. They are the only APA recognized breed created by a woman. They originated in Ohio and were developed as a dual purpose bird that would thrive in the middle of Ohio's snow belt.
Jeff has been working on developing a line of good layers and has their production up to around 200/year if I'm not mistaken. I'm hoping to find out starting next month if they live up to the press releases. Should be fun.
Apyl, the Buckeye is an American Breed and the ONLY breed of chicken developed by a woman right here in Ohio!!! It was accepted by the APA for the SoP in 1904 and because it is a Pea Comb fowl is very cold climate tolerant! Here is a History of the Buckeye by the originator, Nettie Metcalf;
History of the Buckeye
By MRS. NETTIE METCALF, Inglewood, Calif., the Originator.
We began housekeeping in 1879 with a flock of pure-bred Brown Leghorns, and didn't like them a little bit. They were into everything, scratched and destroyed more than their necks were worth, laid only in the spring, and hid their nests then in the most out-of-the-way places they could find, and when I wanted to kill one it was "always the wrong time ofthe year," according to my husband, for they were always scrawny and in poor condition.
<having settled on Barred Rocks to raise> I traded eggs with a neighbor who had Buff Cochins, and used the cockerels so raised with my Barred Rock hens and pullets. This produced a big, lazy fowl, so I looked around for something else to mix in. I visited a breeder of Black BreastedRed Games, who claimed his stock was pure, but I noticed that they were not uniform, some of them having yellow and some slate-colored legs, yet so handsome were they that I bought eggs and raised some fine cockerels from them,which I crossed upon my flock of hens.
This year's mating produced a few red birds, something never seenaround there before, and which attracted my attention and aroused an ambition to try and reproduce them. How I was laughed at for the attempt. Well, ridicule and opposition are just the spurs some people need,so I determined to "show folks" or die trying. I had no yards or conveniences except one 10x12 coop and the run of the 100-acre farm, but whoever heard of a woman stopping for anything, once her mind was made up!
The back yard was fenced and there were big picket gates on theplace which nearly always stood open, so I got a boy to help me unhinge acouple and carry them across two corners of the back yard; then, I borrowed acouple of big boxes for coops, and what more was needed? I penned up two pairs in these small enclosures. Had I to do this over again, I would start with onepair, but I was afraid of in-breeding in those days, so doubled my troubles bystarting with two pairs, thus getting the defects of four progenitors insteadof two.
My, what a flock I raised that year! No wonder my friends laughed!Green legs and feathered legs, buff chicks, black chicks, and even red andblack barred chicks; single combs and pea combs, and no combs at all, but fighters from away back. One good neighbor quit laughing and decided to help me out, but her husband "didn't want any of those Metcalf mongrels on the place"!
Many names for my new breed suggested themselves, and year after year they bred truer to the type I had in mind, which was a modified Cornish shape, with the very darkest of red plumage, hens containing some black not being objectionable to me so long as the males kept that dark red shade I admired.
I finally decided upon the name Buckeye Reds,and advertised and sold eggs to well-pleased customers, although some ofmy neighbors thought I ought to be prosecuted for fraudulently using the mails."My" they used to say, "anyone could mix up a lot of chickensand name them something and sell the eggs; it isn't right." But when they saw some of the letters from pleased customers they began to go so far as tooffer to trade eggs or roosters with me, and one man even made me the magnificent offer of "some fine, fat cockerels, Rocks, all ready for market, if I would give him their weight (their .weight, mind you) in late-hatched pullets." He calculated on getting about two pullets for each cockerel, you see.
Late in 1896, after having made up my mind to apply to have mybreed admitted to the standard as Buckeye Reds, Iread an' article describing Rhode Island Reds, andfor the first time found that the red chicken, idea was not original with me,but had been worked at many years down east. I immediately corresponded withleading breeders of Rhode Island Reds, exchangedbirds and eggs with them, only to find that they bred to a lighter shade ofred, and that they had rose and single combs while I had single and pea combs.
I now knew that the black-breasted Red Games I had bought were mixed with the Indian Game and that that was where I had obtained the pea comb,to me the finest of all combs.
Leading Rhode Island Red breeders, among them the late R. G. Buffington, advised me to drop the name Buckeye Reds and call mine Rhode Island Reds also, as they seemed to think they were so very similar. The help of a large club appealed to me and I finally took this bad advice, but was careful to keep the rose, single and pea combs yarded separately.
The difference in shape and comb and depth of color, however,convinced me that they ought to be bred to a different standard, and when the Rhode Island Red Club adopted the new standard, cutting out all slate inundercolor, I knew that standard would never do for Buckeyes.
My reason told me that all wild birds of brilliant plumage had slate, or leaden blue, undercolor, and I felt sure that this dark pigment was necessary in order to retain the dark plumage in the offspring.
So, while I threw in my single combs with the Rhode Island Reds, and bred them in their standard, my pea combs werebred along the old lines, and I returned to the old standard and name of Buckeye Reds. This old standard called for "a bar of slate across the feathers of the back, next to the surface color, the rest ofthe undercolor being red.''
In December, 1902, I fitted up a pen of Single Comb Rhode Island Reds and a pair of Buckeyes for the Cleveland show, atthe same time submitting a standard for Buckeyes and petitioned the AmericanPoultry Association to admit them to the standard. This was the first officialshowing for both breeds, the rule governing the admission of new breedsrequiring that two generations must be shown at three annual meetings of theAmerican Poultry Association. I lost the year 1903 by showing at an adjourned,instead of a regular, meeting, showing at Indianapolis instead of atHagerstown. Therefore, the technicality kept the Buckeyes out of the standarduntil 1905, while the Rhode Island Reds, single comb, were admitted in 1904.
My husband and I personally attended the meeting at Rochester, N.Y., in 1904, where we showed for the second time officially. The following yearI was unable to attend the meeting at Indianapolis owing to my mother'sillness, but sent birds for the third and last official showing, at the sametime submitting proofs in the shape of affidavits from breeders of Buckeyes,sworn to before notaries public, proving that they bred true to type and wereas claimed, and the Buckeyes were admitted February, 1905.
It was a heap more of a job than I had ever expected when I began,and I think I should have given up after the first showing at .Cleveland butfor the encouragement of the president and secretary of the American PoultryAssociation, who visited Red Feather Farm, August 24, 1903, examined my breed,and advised me by all means to go on with them, as in their opinion there wasmore than enough difference between them and the Rhode Island Reds to justify my claims to a distinct breed.
Now the difference is summed up in this way briefly: The Buckeye should be as much darker in color than theaccepted Rhode Island Red as the Rhode Island Red is darker than the buffbreeds. Their plumage should be so dark as to male as to look almost black insome lights, garnet-red being as near a description as I can give. The shapeshould resemble the Cornish Game, but the Buckeye isnot as hard in feather and has more fluffiness in plumage, but not so much asthe Rhode Island Red.
The comb of the Buckeye is a pea comb,small and close fitting to the head, and the weight of the bird is much greaterthan is apparent from the size, although I personally much prefer a maleweighing eight to nine pounds.
The laying qualities of the Buckeyes are proverbial, and they areexcellent sitters and mothers, although not very much inclined to broodiness.
I never aspired to a show breed, my object being utility qualitiesonly; but the great beauty of the Buckeyes is a sore temptation, and in thefuture more show birds will be produced yearly.
(printed in October 1917 "Poultry Success" Volume 28)
As a girl born and raised in Ohio, the Buckeye breed sounds like something I should add to my flock. I'm only permitted 12 hens by City Ordinance so I have to choose wisely. I will be traveling the Akron, Ohio area this winter to visit family. Where are you located? Any chance I could see a Buckeye up close and personal? I haven't noticed any of them at any of the chicken shows I have been to in the New England area--but then I've only been to a few.
Kim, I'm located in SW Ohio (north of Cincinnati) so I'm a bit of a drive from Akron! However, I know some breeders up in the NE portion of the Buckeye state that might be able to show you some of their Buckeyes. Just keep me posted when you plan to head "west" and I'll see what I can do to conect you with a good Buckeye "lady" up near Akron!
There are a couple of Buckeye breeders in MA but I don't know of any in CT...check our breeder directory at the website maybe you will find someone in New England?!?!
I think you will LOVE the Buckeye....the history of the breed really pulled me in, not because they came from Ohio but because they were created by a woman! Nettie Metcalf had to be one heck of a woman, too because poultry was a mans world back in the late 1890's and she had to be a very strong woman to break into that APA "boys club"!
Thanks for the info. I'll look for a breeder in Mass. The states in New England are really small, so anywhere in Mass is pretty close. Sadly, no roosters allowed so I can't champion a breed .
I checked out the breeders and for a Mr. Rhodes in Mass, he's been breeding since 1970! I also read the article on understanding the SOP--very well written and illustrated! I enjoyed it very much, thanks.